The President's Desk: Andrés Spokoiny

Andrés Spokoiny is President & CEO of Jewish Funders Network. Full bio >>

The Covid Content Revolution

"Overwhelmed as we are with the threat that Covid presents to our institutions, we tend to forget a quiet revolution that is taking place during the pandemic: the democratization of quality."

 

Read article on eJewish Philanthropy

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Covid Was Not a Crash Diet

Anybody who, like me, has ever tried to lose weight – and failed – has experienced some of the harsh realities of dieting. At the beginning, you get really encouraged, take decisive action, and see the results right away. The pounds seem to fall off, and those old jeans suddenly fit again.

But then progress slugs. You plateau and, little by little, you start gaining weight again. Well, you tell yourself, after that run I earned that cookie, didn’t I? You fail to realize the two key truths about dieting: that certain practices, like exercise, portion control, and no-snacking, need to become a way of life, and that every stage requires different actions. The exercise routine that helped you lose your first five pounds may not be effective for the next 10. And your carbs strategy needs to be different: You can totally cut them for two weeks, but can you sustain that over time?

 

Read full article — a Message for the National Day of Philanthropy — in eJewish Philanthropy.

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'Memento Mori': The Unpleasant Reminder That Makes Us Better People (Yom Kippur 5781)

Rome’s highest honor for its military leaders was the triumph. It was an extravagant and lavish affair in which the triumphator, wearing a crown of laurel and a gold-embroidered purple tunic, and riding a gold-plated four-horse carriage, was paraded through the streets of the city at the head of his army, showing off the captives and the spoils that they brought from the campaign.  

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The Rosh Hashanah-Quantum Connection (Rosh Hashanah 5781)

According to physicist Carlo Rovelli, the most radical discovery of quantum mechanics is this: Things don’t have concrete existence, but instead acquire proper entity only when they interact with other things. Like most concepts in quantum, this is mind-bending. At the most basic level, quantum says, our world is not made of “things” but of relationships.

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Seven Questions We Need to Ask in 5781

“Since the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem”, says the Talmud, “prophecy has been taken from prophets and given to fools and children.” In other words, there’s no way of knowing what the future holds. But if I can’t prophesize, I can at least, ask questions. And the questions are more important than the answers, for they can spark important communal conversations.

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Billionaires: It's Time to Give Until It Hurts

Recently, the Washington Post reviewed the charitable donations of the 50 wealthiest Americans during COVID. What they found was concerning: On average, America’s wealthiest families gave just 0.1% of their net worth. That’s equivalent to the median American family giving $97.30. Hardly a sacrifice.

Read the rest of Andrés' op-ed in the Forward.

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To Confront Cancel Culture on Left and Right, Take a Page from the Talmud (Tisha Be'av 5780)

The Talmud, the Jewish people’s greatest work of collective genius, is the direct consequence of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple that we commemorate on Tisha Be’av.

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Are We Ready for the Spiritual Transformation this Plague Will Unleash?

There’s one critical question many are failing to ask as they scramble to rescue our institutions and shore them up financially: whether the Jewish world is ready for the spiritual transformation this plague is going to unleash.

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What Would Moses Say? Of Nietzsche, Hitler and the Freedom to Hurt Others (Shavuot 5780)

Nietzsche is probably one of the most misunderstood and manipulated philosophers in history. The most pernicious manipulation of him was done, of course, by the Nazis, who turned his inversion of the traditional concept of “natural law” into a justification for genocide.

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On This Covid Yom Ha’atzmaut, Let’s Hit the Reset Button

Many things that worried us tremendously a few months ago seem to have lost their urgency in the age of COVID19. As Bari Weiss noted in a recent New York Times column, “many of the [culture war] battles of the past decade now seem self-indulgent and stagnant; others a waste of time...”

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